2 cups fresh basil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4–1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Note: if you won’t be eating it straightaway, you can blanch the basil to preserve its color for storage in the refrigerator or freezer. Plunge it in 30 seconds in boiling water, then shock in ice cold water. Drain and continue with recipe.
Toast the pine nuts over medium heat until just starting to brown. Immediately remove from heat (so they don’t burn) and let cool.
Combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts, and cheese in a blender or food processor. Pulse to combine. Turn the machine on low and drizzle in the olive oil. After a quarter cup, pause and turn the speed up to medium. If you need to, add more oil (our blender will just whizz air around uselessly if the contents are too thick and not liquidy enough). Process until it’s a consistency you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Further note: this recipe seems on the more concentrated side, so I only have to use a tablespoon or so to coat 3 ounces of pasta. Reserve a little cooking water and toss with the pasta and pesto to combine and finish over low heat. (I also like to add a bit of red pepper flakes. And an extra finishing sprinkle of salt.)
My little hanging garden is coming along nicely. I’ve added a couple more baskets! First up is the upper-basil, lower-sweet 100 cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomato plant has exploded, it’s huge! Unfortunately it’s only put forth one fruit so far. There are a bunch of flowers though, so I’m hoping more are on the way. Basil is doing fine.
Second is upper-thyme, lower-Indigo Rose tomatoes. Although this bush isn’t as big as the cherry tomatoes, it’s putting out a lot more fruit. I’ve got one good-sized tomato and four smaller ones growing. And there are a bunch of flowers on this plant as well. I’ve heard these take a while to ripen. They will be dark purple when they’re done. Thyme is going great guns.
The third is upper-super chili peppers, lower-ichiban eggplants. The chili peppers are looking great! There are SEVEN chilis and a ton of blossoms! Salsa is in my future. The eggplants are frustrating me. This one has a bud, but it hasn’t blossomed yet. I’m thinking maybe a week out?
The last basket is upper-sweet gypsy bell peppers, lower-Casper eggplants. These eggplants are even more annoying than the Ichibans. I’ve had three blossoms, but each one has withered and fallen off. I’m hoping the current blossom makes it. I had a problem with some aphids on this plant in particular, but I was able to get rid of them. The bell pepper is so cute! I think another one is starting to form.
I am not a gardener, but I want to learn. I have friends who have amazing vegetable gardens and I get so jealous thinking about their tomatoes! So this year I am trying my hand at upside-down tomato growing. I read about it on Instructables and thought it didn’t look too hard for a beginner.
(I saw a lot of tutorials using 5-gallon plastic buckets as well, but I wanted them to look… not like they were in plastic buckets.)
In the left basket are indigo rose tomatoes growing down, and a couple thyme plants on top. In the right basket are sweet 100 cherry tomatoes growing down with basil on top.
It’s been a couple days (and hey! we actually got rain the day after I planted! amazing!), and they haven’t died yet, which is frankly amazing. Also amazing is the tomato plants’ determination to grow upwards. Already I am seeing heliotropism as they try and stretch up towards the sun.